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Research Associate (Archaeology)

Requisition ID:  20279

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  24-Jun-2022

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


What’s in it for you? Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.

Newcastle is an inclusive global University community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


Salary: £31,406 to £40,927 per annum


Closing Date: 30 June 2022


The Role

We are seeking to appoint a Research Associate for a period of eighteen months to work on the AHRC-funded research project Where power lies: the archaeology of transforming elite centres in the landscape of medieval England c. AD 800-1200. The role will include the development and delivery of GIS analyses, archaeological fieldwork (especially geophysical and topographic survey), post-fieldwork data processing, work with archives and records (including the Portable Antiquities Scheme), and generation of project outputs.


You will be able to present information on the research project to a variety of audiences, communicating complex information orally, in writing, and electronically. Collaboration with other team members will be key, and the Research Associate must have the capacity to integrate various strands of archaeological data into coherent frameworks and narratives.  


The role will include extensive travel in England for research activities. 


Project Details


Where power lies: the archaeology of transforming elite centres in the landscape of medieval England c. AD 800-1200


The project offers the first systematic examination of the physical evidence for elite centres in the landscape of medieval England between the late Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods (c. 800-1200AD). It will use a combination of archaeological survey techniques and digital approaches to transform our understanding of the origins, development, and character of aristocratic power in the Middle Ages.


In the rural landscape in this period, high-status centres typically consisted of a residence alongside a church and its burial ground. These places were the very embodiment of aristocratic power in the landscape, and were the spaces in which elite identities were established, perpetuated, and reinvented. These sites are crucial to how we view the medieval period, so it is surprising that so few have been examined in detail by archaeologists. As a nationwide phenomenon our comprehension is very limited, and we remain unsure of fundamental issues such as their distribution across the landscape, what they looked like, and how they changed over the medieval centuries. Significantly, many elite places were transformed into castles during the period but, partly due to lack of evidence, we are unsure why some places were selected for this treatment over others.


This project will significantly further our understanding of medieval aristocratic authority, assessing for the first time the national distribution of high-status enclaves in England. These data will be used as a platform for detailed investigation of a carefully selected sample of case study sites, which will be subject to comprehensive archaeological survey and digital mapping techniques. These approaches will allow detailed biographies of case study locations to be  developed, exploring how the character and expression of elite power evolved over time. Working with the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme, the project will also produce a new profile of the artefacts of the aristocracy who built and occupied these sites. A programme of outreach work will engage communities in co-creation of knowledge about their landscapes and built heritage, while the project's academic findings will be communicated to the scholarly community through a portfolio of publications and conference presentations. 


The project is hosted in the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology at Newcastle University, which has a vibrant and active research culture with particular strengths in interdisciplinary working and supporting holistic career development of colleagues. We have a strong profile in landscape archaeology through the McCord Centre for Landscape. 


For informal enquiries about the role, please contact the project lead Dr Duncan Wright


Key Accountabilities

  • Be experienced in the use of Geographical Information Systems, and have the ability to develop a project database integrating a range of data
  • Be an experienced and professional archaeological field practitioner, with the ability to lead a programme of topographic and geophysical survey
  • Working under supervision, but will be expected to take significant initiative within your own brief and consult with the project lead and the wider team over the details of the project
  • Work with the project lead and other team members to identify and utilise archival sources (e.g. from Historic Environment Records) in support of the project
  • Work with our Project Partner, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, to generate a comprehensive profile of the artefactual assemblages associated with aristocratic centres
  • Be part of the delivery of project outcomes including publications (in which you will be lead author in at least two outputs), conference presentations, public engagement, and other profile-raising and knowledge-sharing activities
  • Work across a project that will incorporate other methods and data, working with other specialists and project partners
  • Be provided with academic and pastoral support within the School and Training will be made available designed to develop your competences. You will be part of the School’s mentoring scheme


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

  • Experience of GIS database development and analysis
  • Experience of leading archaeological fieldwork, with a track record of timely project completion
  • Detailed knowledge of archaeological survey methodologies and data processing
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience of giving presentations at conferences and/or high quality publications
  • Knowledge of the archaeology and history of the medieval English landscape is essential


Attributes and Behaviour

  • High level of problem solving capacity
  • Engage in continuous professional development
  • Actively participate as a member of a research team
  • Ability to communicate complex information with clarity
  • Understanding equal opportuning issues as they may impact on areas of research content



  • Must have PhD in relevant field at time of application
  • Must possess UG or MA degree in Archaeology or a related discipline

The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 20279